PLYMOUTH — A conference co-championship was nice, but after a runner-up finish at the NLC Championship Meet the weekend before, Plymouth’s wrestling team wasn’t settling for second best Saturday.
The Rockies placed five wrestlers in the finals on the way to four individual titles, and Plymouth earned the team championship at its home sectional Saturday at The Rock.
“We were pleased with being conference champions, but we knew coming into this tournament, there’s no co- here,” said Plymouth wrestling coach Bob Read. “We wanted to make sure we wrestled hard, and our kids have been working hard in the room. We stubbed our toe a couple times, but for the most part I think our kids came to wrestle.”
Plymouth beat out second-place Culver Academies 216-200.5, while Bremen finished fourth with a score of 128.5, Culver Community was sixth with a 104.5 score, and Triton placed ninth with 62 points.
The Rockies boasted four individual titles in Cody Allmon at 106, Kam Markovich at 126, DeAndre Pickford at 220, and Drew Dodson at heavyweight. Aaron Houin was runner-up at 182 with a loss to No. 1-ranked Matt Hurford of Culver Community, meanwhile, and the Rockies advanced 10 total wresters to next week’s Rochester Regional.
“The bottom line was team effort,” said Read. “We placed 14 kids today, so every kid scored points.”
“I can’t say enough about our coaching staff,” he added. “We have several volunteer coaches, and that’s the reason why we’re better. Those guys just just put time in with those kids, man, and they’re making them better.”
With both squads advancing five grapplers to Saturday’s finals, Plymouth led the Culver Academies 196-182.5 heading into the championship round Saturday. Markovich’s thrilling pinfall win over Rochester’s John Hunting in the final minute of their 126-pound championship all but assured the home team the championship.
“Markovich was a big key for us, especially when he gets the pin,” Read said. “Really that sort of sealed it. CMA would’ve had to pin their way through in the finals after Markovich’s win, which would have been a tall order.”
Although they fell short of a championship, the Eagles equalled Plymouth in individual championships with four on the day as Noah Trevino won the title at 132, Anthony McHugh claimed top honors at 138, David Zajac grabbed the 145-pound crown, and Edmond Hogan clinched the 152-pound title.
Kayla Miracle lost a decision to Warsaw’s Luis Munoz to finish runner-up at 120 pounds after becoming the first female to qualify for the state finals last year, and the Culver Academies earned 10 fop-four finishes to advance most of its lineup to next week’s Rochester Regional.
“Our kids came to battle. Give credit to Plymouth, their kids stepped up and battled as well, but when you put 10 kids through to regionals — and I think we may have had four third-place finishes and then four champions and a runner-up — that’s pretty good,” said Culver Academies head coach Matt Behling. “I can’t take anything away from our kids. I’m so proud of them right now.”
Bremen had an up-and-down day at Saturday’s sectional tilt, meanwhile.
Randy Shoaf finished runner-up at 220 with a pinfall loss to Pickford, while Joey Bailey was fourth at 120, Tyler Felten placed fourth at 126, Ben Thornton was fourth behind Plymouth’s Stephen Abair at 132, Joel Miller was fourth at 170 for the Lions with a consolation loss to CMA’s Danny Williams, and Wyatt Gordy was fourth at 182 pounds.
“It was a tough day. We had four kids wrestle above their seed and four kids wrestle at their seed, but the kicker was we had six kids place below their seed,” said Bremen head coach Shawn Campbell. “We had a decent first round, and then we just took it on the chin a little in that second round. That kind of put us in the hole and then we had to come back in that wrestleback round to get into that third/ fourth place match to advance. We had some kids that had to beat a kid a second time on the day and some of them did that. That’s one of the tough mental aspects of the wrestleback round — you always have that opportunity to see that kid again, and just like in any other team sport it’s tough to beat someone two times in a row.”
Culver Community’s lineup was short on numbers Saturday, but what the Cavaliers were lacking in quantity, they made up for with quality.
Matt Hurford and brother Mark Hurford claimed titles by pinfall at 182 and 170, respectively, Allen Betts was the 113-pound champion by major decision, and John Ahlenius placed second behind Zajac at 145.
“(Betts), he’s got high goals, he’s focused on what’s ahead as a stepping stone, and we’re excited about next week,” said Culver Community head coach Louis Posa. “Matt and Mark, they’re each others’ biggest fan. They push each other in the room, they thrive on one another’s success, and it’s exciting to see them sharing this success today.”
“We’re always looking to improve, but we’re not disappointed with our guys,” continued Posa. “They wrestled hard, they gave us their best effort. But moving forward there are some areas we can improve in, and they understand that. We’re just continuing to look to get better.”
Triton advanced a trio of wrestlers to the regional round of the state tournament, meanwhile, with some solid performances in the consolation finals.
Joseph Soriano was third at 106 with a major decision over CMA’s Steven Muthart, while Gage Waddle earned another major decision win in the 138-pound consols. Lane Stevens finished fourth via simple decision in the 220-pound consols.
• PLYMOUTH SECTIONAL
1. PLYMOUTH 216, 2. CULVER ACADEMIES 200.5, 3. TIPPECANOE VALLEY 144, 4. BREMEN 128.5, 5. ROCHESTER 128, 6. CULVER 104.5, 7. WAWASEE 92, 8. WARSAW 65, 9. TRITON 62, 20. CASTON 30
106: Cody Allmon (Plymouth) dec. Josh Heckathorn (Rochester) 4-0; 113: Allen Betts (Culver) maj. dec. Tristin Ponsler (Wawasee) 17-8; 120: Luis Munoz (Warsaw) dec. Kayla Miracle (CMA) 6-3; 126: Kam Markovich (Plymouth) pin John Hunting (Rochester) 5:10; 132: Noah Trevino (CMA) dec. Devin Childers (TV) 4-3; 138: Anthony McHugh (CMA) pin jay Heckathorn (Rochester) 2:44; 145: David Zajac (CMA) dec. John Ahlenius (Culver) 6-4; 152: Edward Hogan (CMA) dec. Tyler Downhour (Rochester) 6-2; 160: Nick Rozow (Wawasee) dec. Garrett Bell (TV) 7-0; 170: Mark Hurford (Culver) pin Keaton Bell (TV) 7-0; 182: Matt Hurford (Culver) pin Aaron Houin (Plymouth) 1:42; 195: Brian Clark (Wawasee) maj. dec. Jaron Kidd (TV) 14-4; 220: DeAndre Pickford (Plymouth) pin Randy Shoaf (Bremen) 0:41; 285: Drew Dodson (Plymouth) dec. Chad Eppley (Wawasee) 4-3.
106: Joseph Soriano (Triton) maj. dec. Steven Muthart (CMA) 10-0; 113: Osman Solis (Plymouth) dec. Justin Schroder (Rochester) 5-1; 120: Seth Moon (Rochester) dec. Joey Bailey (Bremen) 2-1; 126: Wyatt Nelson (TV) dec. Tyler Felten (Bremen) 8-2; 132: Stephen Abair (Plymouth) pin Ben Thornton (Bremen) 2:48; 138: Gage Waddle (Triton) maj. dec. Braden Moss (Caston) 16-4; 145: Nolan Wright (Plymouth) dec. Cody Runyon (TV) 8-2; 152: John Stillson (Plymouth) dec. Arron Heller (TV) 6-5; 160: Edmond Hogan (CMA) dec. Braxton Lee (Rochester) 3-0; 170: Danny Williams (CMA) dec. Joel Miller (Bremen) 6-2; 182: Wes Beck (TV) pin Wyatt Gordy (Bremen) 0:48; 195: Collin Parker (CMA) dec. Vincente Vasquez (Plymouth) 3-0; 220: Alec Haines (Warsaw) dec. Lane Stevens (Triton) 9-5; 285: Collin Pepper (CMA) pin John Mangum (Caston) 1:11.